Wednesday, October 17, 2007

List Day: Eight Useless In-Major Classes

Last night I was browsing my archive of worthless garbage and stumbled across the degree program for my Computer Science major. Virginia Tech was not fully accredited at the time of my enrollment, probably because the head of the department was a witchy harpy with the charm of a brown loafer with dog poo in the treads.

  1. CS 1104 - Intro to Computer Science: Between the endless historical discussions of Charles Babbage and the archaic lessons on binary math, the only lesson this freshman course taught me was how to fall asleep during lecture.

  2. CS 1044 - Intro to C Programming: This was the last C-based class offered in the curriculum before Java took over everything. I blew $200 on a C++ development package and used it for three projects (one of which erased my computer). I never programmed in any kind of C again.

  3. CS 3604 - Professionalism in Computing: This intensely deep course offered such ethics lessons as "when you find a bug, you should report it". It also had a public speaking aspect where thirty socially inept students had to present some sort of technical topic before the class. My presentation was on Armadillos and why they could not be computer programmers.

  4. STAT 4714 - Probability and Statistics for Electrical Engineers: I'm not sure why I was in this class, since I was not an electrical engineer. None of the material even applied to any engineering-related fields, so I'm guessing they took one normal Prob & Stat course, and rebranded it for all the different fields that wanted it.

  5. CS 3414 - Numerical Methods: This course was offered at 8 AM in my final semester, and it was taught by a TA. From this description, it can be implied that I did not attend and do not remember what was taught.

  6. CS 3724 - Introduction to HCI: HCI is the study of how easy-to-use and intuitive a web site or application is. This course died of overkill, since we had to read a book filled with common sense rules like "if your web page is justified on the left side, don't justify a random line on the right because it will look funny". Then we went to class where we'd discuss every rule in the book, and then have the professor say things like, "See? Doesn't this screenshot look funny when I move this line over to the right side?"

  7. CS 4634 - Design Of Information: An entire semester of this course taught me that words are easier to read when you make them bold and that you should lay out your presentation so that the main ideas are clearly visible. Much of the coursework duplicated what I learned in fourth grade making science project backboards (but that class was free and we also got playground time).

  8. CS 4204 - Computer Graphics: A course in 3D graphics sounded like it would be fun, but the entire semester was spent on theory of occlusion. In laymen's terms, occlusion means that objects closer to you will hide the objects that are farther away, so you shouldn't make the computer draw the hidden parts. Fortunately by this time, I had become a master of schedule occlusion, which stated that classes closer to the dorm are easier to get to than classes in McBryde, so I should never go to the far away ones.

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